Volume 25 Number 88
                      Produced: Tue Jan 28 20:45:53 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Artscroll's Sixth Commandment Mistranslation
         [Aaron D. Gross]
English Translation Inconsistencies
         [Yrachmiel Tilles]
Pronunciation issues
         [Micha Berger]
Pronunciation of Kamatz
         [Barry Best]
Proper Punctuation in Siddurim
         [Gershon Klavan]
Tanach with trope
         [Carolyn Lanzkron]
Tikun with Kametz Katan
         [Bernard Horowitz]


From: Aaron D. Gross <adg@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 1997 20:45:09 -0800
Subject: Re: Artscroll's Sixth Commandment Mistranslation

>From: Jonathan Abrams <cont4y31@...>
>Responding to Aaron D. Gross's posting:
>As I remember it, Rabbi Bidderman [of Artscroll] explained that the 
>staff at ArtScroll had met on this subject of how to translate the word 
>"tirtzach" (murder according to most translations).  The reason they 
>rejected the "murder" translation is because it is not 100% accurate.  
>The example he brought up was when someone kills someone accidentally 
>it is NOT murder but yet it is still forbidden under the commandment 
>"Lo Tirtzach".  Since this type of accidental killing is also forbidden 
>and since it is not murder per se, ArtScroll decided that it was better 
>to stick to a more encompassing translation like "kill" rather than a 
>very specific one like "murder" which does not include the concept of 
>accidental killing according to my semantic understanding of the word.

Though neither "murder" nor "kill" are 100% accurate, I think it is
arguable that "murder" is MORE accurate than "kill".  It is a choice
between disqualifying accidental deaths versus disqualifying the
positive mitzvot to kill a rodef, to kill Amelekites, to kill a person
convicted of a capital crime, to kill a blasphemer, to kill a public
desecrater of the Sabbath, the right of the family of an innocent
accidentally killed to mortally pursue the accidental killer, etc.
Indeed, the only way I can successfully argue my way out of an
accusation by a non-believer that the Torah is hypocritical (stating an
imperative commandment not to "kill" yet dispatching by execution so
_many_ categories of people) without resorting to contortional
apologetics is to state outright that "kill" is simply a terrible choice
for the translation and causes much ridicule of the Torah.

Artscroll must understand that it is writing for an English speaking
audience, a great many of, if not a majority of which are not yet at the
level of being able to distinguish among the subtleties.  If they can
distinguish between "avodah" and "melacha" in footnotes, they can
certainly do so to distinguish between "kill" and "murder", no?

JPS, Kaplan's "The Living Torah", and Me'am Loez, Silberman's Chumash
with Rashi, J. Hertz (Soncino), ALL chose "murder", not "kill".  Indeed
Artscroll is in a tiny minority (actually alone with Ben
Isaiah/Sharfman's Linear Pentateuch with Rashi among my seforim) in
their exclusive and unqualified use of "kill".

Again, Artscroll is prolific in footnotes.  Why the glaring absence
here?  It just doesn't make sense to me.  There is plenty about the
chronological significance of the beginning of Parshas Yisro, yet no
note at all to qualify such a fundamental and crucial idea as the
difference between killing and murder.

>Personally, I have always felt that the best translation for "Lo
>Tirtzach" (You shall not ...) is -You shall not shed innocent blood-.
>Although somewhat wordy, I feel that this seems to cover all bases 
>as it were.

I feel that even that translation lacks.  Is not a fetus which endangers
the mother also innocent?  Wouldn't shooting a jet full of passengers
that is descending toward a nuclear reactor be preferable to a nuclear
disaster that would kill tens of thousands?  No, "murder", really is the
best translation available.

>From: Alan Cooper <amcooper@...>
>I cannot speak for Artscroll, obviously, but would defend their
>translation on traditional grounds.  The second table of the "Ten
>Commandments [dibberot]" does not comprise "laws" as such, but
>statements of the basic principles that underlie the Torah's
>jurisprudence.  The normal exegetical tendency, therefore, is to seek as
>*broad* an application as possible for each dibber, not a narrow
>technical meaning.  Thus, for example, Malbim takes "lo tirtsach" as a
>general admonition against committing any act that would cause bodily
>harm to another person (possibly leading to bloodshed or death).  In
>like manner, "lo tignov" forbids transgression against the property of
>another (not just "theft" or "kidnapping" in some technical legal
>sense).  The idea is to make each dibber into the rubric for a broad
>range of mitzvot.  The "correct" translation of lo tirtsach would be
>something like "do nothing that might lead to another person's death."
>In that light, even "You shall not kill" is too narrow!

"Traditional grounds"?  Why have the majority of translations
(see above) chosen "murder", not "kill"?

Insofar as "exegetical tendencies", I would agree if the translation was
intended to be as concise as possible.  Artscroll uses extensive
footnoting and chose not to, here, for some reason.  If Artscroll can
squeeze 64 pages of commentary into their "Aseres Hadibros" volume,
devoting 2 pages to "lo tirtzach" and using the explicit term "murder"
throughout their footnotes why is there not a SINGLE explanation why
they translate the commandment as "You shall not kill" instead of "You
shall not murder"?

I love my Artscroll volumes and I would be lost without them, but this
is a very great puzzlement to me.

I have not read the Malbim, but what you state in their name doesn't
seem to be possible to me.  As stated in my answer to Jonathan Abrams,
above, there are MANY instances where causing the greatest possible
bodily harm (killing) is a mitzvah.

"Kill" is the MOST ambiguous choice and leads more people to disparage
the Torah than does "murder".

   Aaron D. Gross -- http://www.pobox.com/~adg  


From: <ascent@...> (Yrachmiel Tilles)
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 1997 14:36:18 +0200
Subject: RE: English Translation Inconsistencies

>From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
>There are 8 times in Chumash when the word NA is said by G-d. In 3 of
>them the Stone English translation uses the word NOW(Gen 13:14,15:5,Nu
>12:6);in 3 cases the word is translated as PLEASE (Gen 22:2,
>31:12,Ex11:2) and in 2 cases the word IS OMITTED in translation (Ex 4:6,
>Gen 18:21).

>Does anyone know how these translations decisions are arrived at? 

Interestingly, Artscroll says they go accordingly to Rashi.  But Rashi
holds strictly like the Sifray that Russell referred to [see Rashi on
Gen. 22:2 and quite a few other places], so the question becomes

Yrachmiel Tilles | Ascent Seminars
PO Box 296       |    e-mail: <ascent@...> (YT)
13102 Tsfat       |    tel: 06 692-1364, 697-1407 (home: 697-2056)
ISRAEL            |    fax: 972-6 692-1942 (attn. Y.Tilles)


From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Jan 1997 07:59:28 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Pronunciation issues

In v25n85, both Steve Albert (<SAlbert@...>) and Rick Turkel
(<rturkel@...>) suggest that Artscroll's lack of notation to
distinguish kamatz gadol from qamatz katan is because Ashkenazim
pronounce the two identically.

I don't think this is true though. Litzvaks pronounce Mordechai as
though the first vowel were a cholum, and kol as though it had a cholum
as well. For this with a Galitzianishe accent, a qamatz katan has the
sound of o in pot, but a gadol is like oo in boot.

IMHO, the question should be shifted off Artscroll, and onto the Siddur
HaGr"a, whos shva markings they copied (see the preface).  This siddur
also doesn't distinguish kamatzim. Oddly enough for a siddur by the
Gr"a's students, there shva marks don't follow the Gr"a's rules, but
that's a different topic.

In the same issue, Joshua W. Burton <jburton@...> comments on a
related topic -- using Teimani pronounciation in an attempt to be more
accurate, or at least making every consanant distinct.

: gimel/jimel	With dagesh, as in gelt; without, as in jelly

I have a problem with assuming that "jimmel" is closer to the way the
undotted letter was pronounced at Sinai.

While as languages as different as Arabic and English lump these two
sounds together (in English, compare "gun" with "general") they are
unrelated phonetically.

J is a dipthong, /d/ followed by /zh/ (the 'z' in "azure", ie the French
'j'). Even if only this latter sound is meant, it's from the wrong
family. /Zh/ is a dental, the voiced version of /sh/, the shin. /G/ is
palatal, from the back of the mouth, not the front.

If I were to reconstruct the sound logically, I would assume that since
gimmel is the voiced version of k (/g/ is like /k/, but uses the vocal
chords as well), the undotted versions would similarly parallel.

In general, the spirintalized letters come in voiced-unvoiced pairs:
beis-pei, dalet-taf, gimel-kaf. If we assume the thaf, this parallelism
holds for the other two pairs as well.

This would give the undotted form a sound like khaf, but voiced, not far
from the Isreali reish. Which is pretty much the sound the Ben Ish Hai

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3754 days!
<micha@...>                         (16-Oct-86 - 27-Jan-97)
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From: Barry Best <bbest@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 97 16:07:00 EST
Subject: RE: Pronunciation of Kamatz

Steve Albert wrote:

> I think it's probably because Artscroll is using / thinking in
> Ashkenazi rather than Sephardi terms;to my knowledge, in Ashkenazis
> there's no difference in pronunciation between kamatz katan and kamatz
> gadol, but the things they do mark *do* make a difference.

Isn't the Kamatz Kattan pronounced "oh" (as in bold) by Ashkenazim as 
opposed to the "aw" (as in crawl) for a Kamatz Gadol?   


From: Gershon Klavan <klavan@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Jan 1997 12:08:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Proper Punctuation in Siddurim

Why is it that no one out there puts everything together?

Art Scroll notes shva na vs. nach.
Koren notes kamatz gadol and kattan, as well as shva-im
Rinat Yisrael notes kamatz as well as inflection - mi-lra and m-leil

Why can't anyone put all three together so people can read EVERYTHING
How many times have you heard a shaliach tzibbur say "hatov ki lo CHAlu"
instead of "hatov ki lo chaLU"??

Don't even think of getting me started about the gross lack of dikduk in
Jewish Music!!!

(could it be that publishers are afraid of a "Grand Unification theory"?)

Gershon Klavan


From: Carolyn Lanzkron <CLKL@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 97 12:55:53 UT
Subject: Tanach with trope

Does anyone know of an electronic version of tanach with the cantillation 
marks and nikkud?
Davka has Judaica Classics, but it doesn't have the trope.

Thank you,


From: <horowitz@...> (Bernard Horowitz)
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 1997 23:06:14 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Tikun with Kametz Katan

Rick Turkel asks why no one in Israel (or anywhere else) has produced a
tiqun which distinguishes between kametz katan (aw) and kametz gadol
(ah).  In fact, there is now such a tikun.  In addition to this feature,
it has many others.  It includes commentary in the margins from the
Minchas Shai and the Shita M'kubbetzes.  The typography is quite unique.
To emphasize psukim which end with the tipcha preceding the mercha, the
text after the tipcha is printed in a smaller font size.  Phrases which
are similar to other phrases in a different pasuk are printed hilited in
grey.  The 'Torah side' column and the 'Chumash side' column are aligned
identically, making it very easy to glance back and forth and find the
place.  And many more.  There is also an excellent introduction
explaining all of the new features, including some grammatical points
and some points related to trop.

Some of the unique typography is on the 'Torah side' and I found this
troublesome at first.  It took some getting used to but I now use this
tikun regularly.  As an experienced ba'al kriah, I was able to ignore
these things when I wanted to and make use of them as I saw fit.  I do
wonder whether a less experienced ba'al kriah would come to rely on the
extra 'hints' too much, and I have been reluctant to have kids who learn
with me use this tikun.

Anyway, the tikun is called:  Tikun Kor'im Hechadash "Simanim"
The editor is: Shmuel Meir Riachi
The publisher: Olam Hasefer Hatorani
	       Mercaz Shatner(?) 5
	       Givat Shaul, Jerusalem
Tel #: 02-6535506
Fax #: 02-6535499

Bernard Horowitz

[Similar reply from: From: David Feiler <dfeiler@...>
who identifies Eichler's in NY as a store that carries it for
$24.50. Mod.] 


End of Volume 25 Issue 88